SEO is not only a technique to make your web pages rank better in search engines, but, in reality, it is an amazing and rewarding experience.
Hard work, patience, consistency, intuition, and right tools – they all come together to make your website visitors and Google love your website.
Since SEO takes time to give results, this career might not seem promising if you want quick results and can’t wait to see the results of your hard work and experimentations.
SEO requires an incredible time of reading, experimenting, and certain habits and skills.
Those who excel in this subject and give advice undergo a lot of research, experiments and keep their skills up to date on their own by following SEO industry trends and blogs.
If you are considering making a career in SEO or just started your career, no wonder you have these questions in mind.
How hard is SEO? How long does it take to become an SEO expert?
So, Is SEO hard?
Of course, not!
“SEO is simple and can be learned easily by doing and experimenting. All you need is patience and time!”
I’ve been working in this industry since 2013 and worked with some wonderful and great SEO marketing professionals in my career.
But when I really started doing it on my own, experimenting with ideas and hypothesis, I got to know SEO is often misunderstood and underrated career.
It is not so hard that you can’t learn or implement it for your business.
1. Educate Yourself
Gone are the days when SEO was only about creating backlinks and stuffing keywords on the web page.
Today, SEO professional should need to tackle something that is the panacea for success in Google –
Quality Content and User Experience.
Let’s be real here. A lot of us did not study SEO in school or university. That’s why many successful SEO and marketing professionals have to learn themselves about it.
The good news is that you can learn SEO and digital marketing fundamentals easily and become a master of the subject.
Learning SEO means you need to know what users search on Google, how your content/service provides them the solution and how you can engage/convert them with your brand.
The skills set that you require (Coding, Content, Social, Analytical, etc.) may seem like a long list but remember SEO is a journey, not a sprint.
Rand Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz, has created a chart on relative knowledge/experience level and suggested six easy ways to learn SEO in this blog post.
Here is my recommended list of resources that will help you learn search engine optimization, whether you are a beginner or need an advanced level of tactics.
1. Google Webmaster Guidelines
2. Webmaster Central Blog
3. Moz Blog
4. Search Engine Land
5. Search Engine Roundtable
6. The SEM Post
7. SEO by the Sea
13. Dejan SEO
Another most effective way of teaching yourself SEO and digital marketing is taking the help and guidance from a mentor.
The mentor can offer you their expertise and time to develop your marketing skills.
2. SEO is Not a Standalone Practice
SEO is no longer exists as a standalone practice to drive traffic and search visibility to the website. SEO alone is not enough to convince the user to stay on your website and engage.
The SEO process requires a more interdependent and interconnected approach with other areas of marketing such as content, social media, UI/UX, community building, etc.
For example, high-quality informative content on the site can influence the Time on Page and Bounce Rate; social media can help amplify that content and get traffic and links for your website and a great UX can make sure the conversion and engagement on the site.
As an SEO your job is not only to understand and learn these areas and better leverage them to deliver an authentic and seamless experience to your users, but also stand out from the rest of the competition.
3. SEO Takes Time
Quality-based Search Engine Optimization always produces fruitful results. You need to setup it properly as well as give some time to take effect afterward.
However, many businesses (even SEO professionals) want to see the results of their efforts right away.
There is no straight answer on how much SEO takes time to produce results. There are many variables that come into the picture that affect your search engine optimization results, such as:
- Quality of content that you produce
- Your expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT) on the topic
- Competition in the SERP for your target keywords
- Number of high-quality links/votes to your website
According to the latest study by Ahrefs, only 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google Top 10 within a year.
So if you are someone who wants to take your website successful overnight by using SEO, you will be disappointed. SEO is more like a waiting game.
Invest your time and efforts in creating content that answers your audience questions and creates the ultimate user experience by providing easy navigation and quick and responsive access to your website over different browsers and screen size.
So don’t give up if you don’t see results after three months from SEO. 🙂
4. SEO Requires Experimenting
Google claims that they use more than 200 ranking factors to determine the best search results for its users.
They have revealed only a few, hardly ten ranking factors to the SEO community, which includes content, links, RankBrain, HTTPS, page load time, mobile friendliness and among others.
To reveal the secrets of search engine ranking system, at its core, SEO has always been about doing experiments.
This involves assuming a hypothesis, running the experiment for some time and tracking the results.
Even the basic SEO concepts are still valid such as crawling, site structure, keywords, and backlinks, however, with the addition of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, search engines have become smarter.
The ever-changing and dynamic nature of SEO presents a lot of new opportunities for SEO professionals to explore and try for their site to improve search visibility.
Whether it’s finding a place for your website in a new type of Google search results such as featured snippets or rich lists, or measuring the impact of internal links, all can be easily done and measured by running some SEO experiments.
Another important characteristic of SEO is “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”. It means that getting a rank from 100 to 30 can be tough, 30 to 10 tougher, and after that, every position close to #1 can take more time and efforts as your competitors are also working hard.
5. Zeal To Move Forward
Most jobs like programming are quite predictable after a while and you may get bored with the same regular routine. And SEO is no different.
In your career, you will definitely face workload, competition, and stress.
You have to keep the same enthusiasm as you had at the start of your career at throughout your career while doing SEO.
There are a couple of ways of doing this. For example, start exploring other areas in marketing such as Web Analytics and Public Relation and how you can make better use of them or sync them with your SEO process.
Test new theories and implement new SEO strategies. This way you will not feel boredom and will have the professional zeal alive.
My goal with this post is not to provide ‘what’ and ‘how’ of SEO but rather to put a light on the ‘SEO’ as a whole for those who are new to this field or started doing it themselves.
I hope this post helped you clear some of your confusion regarding this ‘scientific’ cum ‘creative’ field of marketing.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.